Today in “I didn’t know I wanted this until I saw it” is the Smit Vehicle Engineering (SVE) Oletha. Not ringing any bells? We don’t blame you. Think revised and refined BMW Z8 Coupe and you’re not far off. It’s pretty, isn’t it?
It’s confusing too, for this isn’t actually a Z8, in spite of those looks and the fact it houses a V8 under that svelte bonnet. Though it’s not disclosed exactly what underpins the Oletha, speculation is that the E86 Z4 coupe serves as an underpinning. The only telltale? That roof and coupe window. All of the other original Bangle angles make way for SVE’s stunning Z8-aping carbon coachwork.
Under the bonnet, a far more exotic V8 than the E39 M5 lump that powered the original Z8. This is the S65 4.4-litre unit usually founding howling away under the hood of an E92 M3 GTS. Yes, that means 8,500rpm and in this instance, over 450PS (331kW), thanks to a custom carbon intake and a stainless steel and Inconel exhaust setup. Power goes to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a mechanical limited-slip diff.
That carbon bodywork means there’s not an awful lot of heft for the peaky V8 to shift, either, with the car claimed to weigh 1,400kg at the kerb. Adjustable KW suspension keeps it stead, while AP Racing stoppers slow it down. Hard figures? None just yet, though we’re not entirely sure they’d be relevant anyway. Fast enough.
One number that is known is quite a sticky one. Price. It’s £327,000. Around £10,000 will get a reasonable E86 Z4. For the price of 32 reasonable Z4s and one ropier one, you can start thinking about one of the 100 Olethas SVE will make. It’s implied there’s plenty of room to climb from there, too. Worth it? For those who fall in love at first sight, we don’t doubt it. It’s certainly a lovely-looking thing that appears to be well put together. The question is, would you?